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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Parent Trigger: A Positive Step or a Distraction for Improving Our Public Schools? - Public Sector Inc. Online Debates

"In 2010, California enacted education legislation known as the “parent trigger.” The legislation empowers parents of children at schools that have failed to meet annual yearly progress for at least four years to change the administration, convert the school to a charter, or shut it down completely if they gather signatures from at least 51% of parents at the school. Similar legislation exists in Mississippi and Connecticut, but has failed to become law in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, and Maryland. Parents at McKinley Elementary in Compton Unified – a school that only met yearly progress once in the last eight years –were the first in the nation to “pull the trigger” and remain the sole group to do so to date. As a result of their action, the State of California required the district to hire a “direct assistance intervention team,” and later, an attempt by parents to convert the school to a charter was rebuffed by the school district on technical grounds. A case is currently pending in Los Angeles Superior Court. Many school reformers believe that this law puts the interests of children ahead of teachers and helps to save children in failing schools before the clock runs out. Many education professionals, among them the president of the California Federation of Teachers, view the law as a “lynch mob provision,” intended to dismantle the public school system. The politics of the “parent trigger” are confusing,..."


Click here to read the four part online debate.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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